The environment is not for sale

This November, a ballot initiative to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act will be up for public vote in the state of California. If passed, it will put this act on hold until the state unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent or lower for at least four consecutive quarters.

Signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, the Global Warming Solutions Act required that by the year 2020, California’s carbon emissions would dramatically reduce by 25 percent. It puts a cap on the amount of greenhouse gases that industrial companies can emit into the atmosphere in California. This ground-breaking act was necessary because carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has been largely responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.

Also known as Proposition 23 and “California Job Initiatives,” the ballot initiative trying to put an end to the act is being funded by tea party fundraisers and out of state industrialists.

The suspension of the Global Warming Solutions Act would not only be harmful to the state of California, but to the entire country. The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that does not have a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore it’s up to individual states to set their own caps.

If big businesses and oil companies can strike down an environmental law in one state, what’s to keep them from doing so in others? This will send a message to lawmakers across the country that even in one of the nation’s greenest states, voters do not support carbon-cutting legislation.

Do we really want big businesses controlling our nation’s environmental policy?

In times of economic crises, citizens tend to lose support for environmental issues. But environmental and economic goals are not mutually exclusive, and we shouldn’t let business interests convince us otherwise.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.